It is summer time and that means a change in the rhythm of life. Instead of grocery shopping, I go to my garden and collect the harvest -- and do some weeding and replanting. Instead of waiting all day for my laundry to dry, I hang the clothes on the line and bring them in after only an hour or two. Instead of making soup for lunch, I make a salad. The days are long. Instead of settling in with a book or needlework after supper, I may play golf or go for a swim, or make jam. The day job may still be nine-to-five, but the summer pace is different.
Now, here's my question. What happens to my writing when I'm literally on vacation? Sometime over the next two months, we'll be away from home, visiting new locations, connecting with old friends. What happens to the writing routine in those times?
In her view, the true writer is a split personality, one part child, imaginative, temperamental, tender, undisciplined and creative. The other part is like the older brother, focussed, determined, organized, tough, and protective. She emphasises the need for the "artist" personality to have free rein to explore, dream and play. It is the job of the "older brother" to keep track of royalities, check contracts, deal with rejection slips, set a timetable, send out queries -- all to protect the creative side from harm.
If her thesis holds true, I would suggest the older brother needs a vacation now and again. Even big business knows that employees who have frequent breaks are more productive.
So, if the "older brother" goes on vacation, what happens to the artist/child? Should we free ourselves from the discipline of morning pages or daily word counts? Can we spend time to explore, soak up new landscapes, listen to unfamiliar accents, see stories emerge from the waves on a sandy beach without the requirement to write it down? To use another of Julia Cameron's precepts, is a vacation from writing is just an extended artist's date?
Or, having spent weeks and months training our unconscious to see and record and imagine, will a vacation put us back to square one, stemming the flow of the unconscious writer, pushing the creative side into inaccessible corners of the mind?
So, dear readers, I ask you. Do I take a pen and notebook on vacation, get up early and write morning pages, or do I dance on the beach and weave daydreams in the clouds?
visit her at www.alicevaldal.com